Snow, snow and more snow
Brainerd lakes area residents — who saw 2-3 inches of snow before 5 p.m. Monday — may be digging themselves out to get to work as the area is expected to see between 10-15 inches of snow by Wednesday night.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Duluth issued a winter weather advisory in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for northern Crow Wing County, southern Cass County and Aitkin County. A couple of inches of snow fell Monday and additional bands of snow are expected to move across the area through Wednesday night. About 2-4 inches of snow is expected to fall through Tuesday morning, with total snowfall in the range of 10-15 inches by the end of the storm.
Brainerd was expected to see snow accumulations of up to 3 inches Monday night, with another 2-4 inches falling Tuesday. Snow will fall mainly Wednesday before 1 p.m. and will be heavy at times, the NWS reports.
Total snow accumulations reported shortly before 5 p.m. Monday showed Brainerd with 2.5 inches; Nisswa, Fort Ripley and Motley, all with 3 inches; 2.5 inches near Emily and Cass Lake; and 2.1 inches seven miles north of McGregor. Areas of the state that saw higher snow totals include Grand Rapids with 5.3 inches and Moose Lake with 5 inches.
And, when the snow is done, residents better get ready for the arctic cold snap that is expected to sweep across the region, the NWS reports. Temperatures in Brainerd will dip to the single digits for a high and below zero for a low. The high for Thursday in Brainerd will be near 7 degrees, and 12 below zero by nightfall. Friday’s high is expected to be zero and 15 below zero overnight. Saturday’s high is forecast to be 2 below zero.
With the first winter storm hitting the lakes area, motorists have seen the snowplows out in force.
Brainerd City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said crews were busy Monday sanding and scraping the city streets and trying to keep the intersections as safe as they can for motorists.
“We plan to get the snow plows out before rush hour Tuesday,” Hulsether said crews will be out around 5-6 a.m. Tuesday and again early Wednesday depending on the snowfall.
“We will try to maintain the streets, but there are slippery intersections and we will try to clean up the roads before the cold snap comes.”
Hulsether said the busiest intersections in the city are on Oak Street, College Drive and the downtown area and city crews will make sure those areas are safe, as they are the streets that “ice up the worst.”
“I caution people to drive safely and to slow it down. ... There is a lot of moisture content in the snow so it will be icy. Please drive with extreme caution.”
Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl reiterated Hulsether’s advisory.
“Remember to slow down and take more time to get to your destination,” said Dahl. “We all think that we are invincible and that a crash will never happen to us. However, it does happen and we all aren’t immune to anything. It’s important to get there safe rather than get there on time.”
Dahl said deputies were busy Monday as were other law enforcement officers in the Brainerd lakes area.
“We were fortunate to have very few injuries,” said Dahl.
Sgt. Curt Mowers of the Minnesota State Patrol said troopers responded Monday to many vehicles in ditches and a few personal injury crashes.
The state patrol responded to a two-vehicle crash with injuries around 2 p.m. Monday on Highway 371, about a half mile south of the Bypass Bridge. The Brainerd Fire Department responded and said one person went to the hospital. Another two-vehicle minor crash was reported at 4:21 p.m. Monday on Highway 210 and Inglewood Drive and one person was hospitalized.